If your kid is prone to throwing tantrums for seemingly the smallest reason — or for no reason at all — then however good a parent you are, you won’t always be able to keep your temper at bay during your little one’s fit. You might get annoyed and then angry at both your kid and yourself. At the same time, you might feel how powerless you are — and after that comes weariness and dismay.
Add to this your shame for your kid’s behavior if he or she’s been naughty in public, and multiply it by all the time lost, because neither your kid nor yourself can do anything during the tantrum.
The screams and tears will not go without consequences, either. Regular tantrums hit the nervous system of the child, and they can also become a really bad habit.
Well, stopping a tantrum is not as tough a job as you think, and we will show you how to do it.
This method is both the easiest and the hardest at the same time. Its main idea is to detach yourself from your kid’s tantrum and not react in any way to such unruly behavior.
The easiness here is that you should not do anything at all. Continue, or start, doing whatever you were working on, and don’t pay any attention to the screaming kid.
But the difficulty is in that same thing. Trying to ignore the tantrum when your own anger is already boiling inside you and you want to stop all this at once is a hard task.
However, keep your face straight and switch to some concrete and simple tasks. Do a little clean-up, for example, or collect the toys lying around the lawn. It would be best if you left the vicinity of your infuriated offspring and waited until they came to you of their own free will.
There is a nuance in this method: you should restrain not only your tongue, but your face and body language, too. Your kid mustn’t see that you are irritated in any way, because a tantrum does not belong in your home — it’s just an unpleasant stranger that doesn’t deserve your attention. And when your kiddie finally approaches you, don’t remind them of what’s already passed by scolding that red and puffy little face.
Finish the task you’ve been doing together, and then have fun together, too.
This way is the most popular, and it’s very simple: distract your kid with a sudden question or call to action so that their attention switches from crying to interaction with an adult.
The question could be a difficult one that would require at least a momentary thinking over, or it could be a very simple one so as to catch the kid off guard by its obviousness.
Difficult questions: ’Hey, what’s that boy going to do with the swing? He isn’t swinging!’ (with this, you should at least turn and look at the boy); ’Was that a phone ringing just now?’ (strain your ears here)
Obvious questions: ’Whoa! Where’s your nose?’ ’Wow, are those shoes you’re wearing?’
An action to which you call the kid should be simple and done almost mechanically. ’Calm down’ is not a concrete action — do you know how to do it yourself? ’Stand up from the floor’ is not, in its turn, an easy task, because your kid wants to lie down and cry.
Try suggesting the following: ’You’ve made your pants dirty, dust them down,’ or ’Your hair is a mess, let’s put it right.’ It goes without saying that any question should be asked in an utterly interested or surprised tone, while a call to action must be calm and invite no argument.
This method is probably the hardest, and it will only suit the adults who are absolutely sure of their acting talent.
Having returned from a walk, you leave the crying kid at the door and start fumbling in your handbag. ’Wow, how many things are in here?! Empty envelopes, some cards…What do I do with all of this stuff? Let’s see what’s in the other pocket.’ The kid will almost certainly switch their attention to a real adult card or an envelope.
And if you face the tantrum without getting angry and with words like, ’Look who’s got a case of the naughties! We’ll need some medicine. And the best medicine for naughties is a pie!’ and then you go to really make some pie (if you cook and love doing it, of course), then there won’t be a tantrum at least for that day.
I’d like you to note well that severe doesn’t mean cruel. The method of severity is only for parents who can manage their anger.
The first option is an adult decision that doesn’t depend on the kid’s behavior. If it’s time to go home, and your kid has been told this in advance and he or she doesn’t want to and throws a tantrum, you should not yield, get nervous, or explain anything to the screaming little one — you just take them by the hand (or in your hands, if needed), and head home.
The second option will not stop the fit of naughtiness right away, but it may make such fits rarer. There should be a punishment for misbehaving. For example, if your kid starts screaming during a morning walk, you leave them without an evening one; or if he or she doesn’t want to collect the thrown-around toys and starts crying about that, you collect them yourself but don’t return them for some time.
This method is suitable for kids of three years and older.
This is absolutely the most pleasant way. You just need to hug and caress your crying little one.
You love them, right? Well, remind them of it. If you scream and cry, then you’re feeling bad, and if you’re feeling bad, I’m sorry for you. Both a toddler and a pre-school little boy or girl needs your love and care.
By the way, hugging will calm you down too, making you remember that this red, puffy, and crying little human is your most precious being in the world!
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